According to the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), IT Asset Management (ITAM) is “a set of business practices that incorporates IT assets across the business units within the organization. It joins the financial, inventory, contractual and risk management responsibilities to manage the overall life cycle of these assets including tactical and strategic decision making”. Assets include all elements of software and hardware that are found in the business environment.
IT asset management is sometimes referred to as IT inventory management because it typically involves gathering detailed hardware and software inventory information which is then used to make decisions about purchases and how assets are used. Having an accurate IT asset inventory helps companies use their assets more effectively and avoid unnecessary asset purchases by re-using existing resources. IT asset management also enables organizations to lower the risks costs of unknowingly building new IT projects on outdated (or unknown) infrastructure foundations.
IT Asset management is made effective using metadata and electronic records to track and categorize the organization’s assets. Metadata is the description of the physical or digital asset and any supporting information that is needed to inform asset management decisions. The metadata depth can vary depending on the needs of the organization.
Why is Asset Management Important for IT?
IT organizations manage a large proportion of the company’s total asset footprint. IT assets are both costly to acquire and to maintain. As a result, asset management plays a critical role in helping IT teams to ensure efficient use of the organizations resources in supporting the needs of users and business functions.
Gartner defines IT Asset Management (ITAM) as: “providing an accurate account of technology asset lifecycle costs and risks to maximize the business value of technology strategy, architecture, funding, contractual and sourcing decisions.” This definition highlights that IT Asset Management isn’t just about inventorying assets, it about using the information that is captured to drive decisions. Increasingly, IT organizations are focusing on the usability and informational value of IT asset data to drive business value instead of just focusing on data quantity and accuracy.
Here are some of the key goals of asset management in IT:
- Enforce compliance with corporate security policies and regulatory requirements
- Improve productivity by deploying the technology to support user and business needs
- Reduce licensing and support costs by eliminating or reallocating underutilized resources and licenses
- Limit overhead costs of managing the IT environment